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A Summer Place

A Summer Place(1959)

Remind Me

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Delmer Daves's credit reads "Written, Produced and Directed by Delmer Daves." In the film, "Ken" and "Sylvia" mention that their beachfront house was designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The house, which is known as the Clinton Walker House, still stands, and has become a tourist landmark outside Carmel, CA. The film that "Molly" and "Johnny" pretend to see is the 1933 RKO production, King Kong (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40). A February 1959 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that the role of Molly, which was played by Sandra Dee, was "meant for" Natalie Wood. According to a modern source, Wood later regretted turning down the part. An April 1959 New York Times article reported that Sloan Wilson, the author of the book on which the film was based, wrote the first screenplay, incorporating the twenty-seven-year span covered in his novel, but Daves was not pleased with it and so wrote his own screenplay for the film. The New York Times article also reported that a seventeen-mile-drive on the Monterey Peninsula was used to portray the Eastern seaboard. Warner Bros. studio notes contained in the film's production file at the AMPAS Library stated that portions of the film were shot on location at Carmel, Pacific Grove, Monterey and Pebble Beach, CA.
       In the April 1959 New York Times article, Daves was quoted as saying that the "two affairs [in the film] May sound sensational, but...we have received the approval of the Johnston Office because the intent of the picture is a moral one." According to the Variety review, the film "makes the most of Hollywood's newly-discovered freedom to display the voluminous vocabulary of sex....A couple of years ago, A Summer Place wouldn't have been made." The Hollywood Reporter review stated, "It is an absorbing study of sex as it affects most of our lives, though no civilized person will find in it anything that is cheap or nasty...." On the other hand, the New York Times review reported that Wilson's "novel emerges as one of the most laboriously and garishly sex-scented movies in years," and the Los Angeles Mirror review described A Summer Place as "so preoccupied with sex, you would think it has just been invented."
       The film was a box office hit. An orchestral rendition of the love theme from Max Steiner's score, as recorded by Percy Faith and sung by The Letterman placed number one on popular music charts for many weeks and was awarded a Grammy for the 1960 Record of the Year. Since the film was released, the music has become iconic, often used briefly in films or television programs to signal love at first sight or young love. The music and scenes from the film have appeared in numerous later films, among them, Diner (1982) and Ocean's Eleven (2001).
       According to a November 2002 Hollywood Reporter news item, Edmonds Entertainment and Storyopolis were planning a remake of A Summer Place, to be written by Nicholas DiBella and to star Mandy Moore. The producers of the respective companies were Tracey and Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, and Fonda Snyder. As of May 2005, this project has not been realized.